Chatty Eileen celebrates 100th birthday

Eileen Hillman with Adur District Council chairman Joss Loader and family, twins Maggie and Roz and son-in-law Lee Balthazor
Eileen Hillman with Adur District Council chairman Joss Loader and family, twins Maggie and Roz and son-in-law Lee Balthazor

In years gone by, if you wanted to know what was going on in Southwick, you asked Eileen Hillman.

A friendly, chatty lady, she often stopped to speak to people in Southwick Square in her younger days and was considered to know everything that was going on.

Eileen cuts her cake with the help of daughter Maggie

Eileen cuts her cake with the help of daughter Maggie

She celebrated her 100th birthday at Romans Care Home, in Roman Road, Southwick, on Sunday and had a visit from Adur District Council chairman Joss Loader on Friday, when her twins Maggie and Roz and son-in-law Lee Balthazor joined residents for a tea party.

Eileen was born on June 24, 1918, and was part of a well known family in the north, the Markhams of Northampton. She counts a Dame and an MP among her relatives but Roz said their family had had a fairly ordinary life.

They moved to Church Lane, Southwick, when the girls were ten, because of dad Jim’s work, and they were educated at King’s Manor School.

Eileen had been a ballet teacher in London and was a firewatcher during the Second World War. She was also a pianist and has a beautiful singing voice.

Maggie said: “She was very active until a few years ago. If ever there was a party, she used to be the first one there and the last to leave.

“When she was 90, they took her out in a pink limousine with a glitter ball and she loved it.

“People will know her from Southwick Square, she would stop and talk to everybody. She always knew what was going on.

“She has always been active. On a wet day, she would walk up and down the house 200 times. She said you can’t just sit around doing nothing. She was going up and down stairs until a couple of years ago.”

Eileen has been in the home for two years.